Margaret Thatcher Dead at 87

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 8 2013 12:12 PM

Margaret Thatcher Dead at 87

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Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died at 87 on Monday.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Margaret Thatcher, the conservative "Iron Lady" of British politics who was Prime Minister for 11 years, died of a stroke on Monday. She was 87 years old. 

In a statement, her spokesman Lord Tim Bell announced the death on behalf of the family (via the New York Times): 

“It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning." 
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The family will make a full statement later, he added. Downing Street has announced that Thatcher will have a full ceremonial funeral at St. Paul's Cathedral.

Over at Slate's Double X, Lionel Shriver has an obituary that makes the case for Thatcher as feminist:

Margaret Thatcher was a real feminist. Not for what she said but for what she did. She did not pursue justice for her gender; women’s rights per se was clearly a low priority for her. She was out for herself and for what she believed in. If we had more feminists like Thatcher, we’d have vastly more women in Parliament and the U.S. Senate, as well as more trees and fewer tedious television talk shows. More “feminists” like Thatcher, the first woman to lead a major Western democracy, and young women would be clamoring to be called one, too.

Elsewhere at Slate, Dave Weigel has a round-up of the most memorable anti-Thatcher lines in pop culture (spoiler alert: there are quite a few), and has also weighed in on the likely differences between the British and American reactions to her death. And Matt Yglesias at Moneybox parsed the difference between Thatcher's policies and her legacy. Or, take a look at the Slate Book Review's 2012 piece on Reagan and Thatcher: The Difficult Relationship, including this transcript excerpt of a phone conversation between the two on the Falklands crisis:

“You surely are not asking me, Ron, after we’ve lost some of our finest young men, you are surely not saying, that after the Argentine withdrawal, that our forces, and our administration, become immediately idle? ...”
“Margaret, I …”
“I wonder if anyone over there realizes, I’d like to ask them. Just supposing Alaska was invaded? ...”
“No, no, although Margaret, I have to say I don’t quite think Alaska is a similar situation.”
“More or less so,” she snapped back.
“Yeah, well, uh … uh …Well Margaret, I know I’m intruding on you …”

Other reactions from around the world:

— UK Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement (via Reuters), "we have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton," adding on Twitter, "She didn't just lead our country; she saved our country." According to the New York Times, Cameron has cut short a visit to continental Europe.

— President Obama, in a statement (via the Washington Post): “With the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend... Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history—we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will.”

— George W. Bush called Thatcher an "inspirational leader who stood on principle and guided her nation with confidence and clarity...strong woman and friend," according to ABC foreign editor Jon Williams.

— John McCain tweeted, "RIP Margaret Thatcher, one of the great leaders of the 20th century."

— And, like many of its members, the RNC have also weighed in, also on Twitter: "We are saddened by the passing of Margaret Thatcher, the 'Iron Lady' of conservative leaders. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family."

— Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev, also on Twitter: "Margaret Thatcher was an outstanding politician. Her political views invited varied opinions but her political will commanded respect."

This piece on a developing story has been updated with new information.

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Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.